26 October 2006

We need another Earth

We will need two planet earths by 2050 if we continue with current rates of resource use, reports the World Wildlife Fund.

We will need two planet earths by 2050 if we continue with current rates of resource use, reports the World Wildlife Fund’s Living Planet Report 2006.

The Living Planet Report, produced by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), is a biennial update on the state of the natural world. It describes how ecosystems are affected by human consumption of natural resources.

The 2006 Report, launched Tuesday in Beijing, China, states that projections indicate that humans will be using two planets’ worth of natural resources by 2050.

Six planets if everyone lives like U.S.A
Speaking at a press briefing in Cape Town on Tuesday, Dr Rob Little, Conservation Director of WWF-SA, cited another disturbing statistic:

If everyone in the world were able to live at the affluence level of the average United States citizen, we would need six planets to sustain our resource consumption.

Ongoing species loss, resource over-use
The Living Planet Report 2006 also shows that trends identified in previous Living Planet reports – rapid biodiversity loss and fewer available natural resources – are ongoing.

The Report focuses on two main indicators of the Earth’s health: the Living Planet Index, which reflects the health of these ecosystems; and the Ecological Footprint, which shows the impact of human demand on the planet’s ecosystems.

One third of vertebrates lost
The Report's Living Planet Index shows that populations of vertebrate species have declined by about one third since 1970.

Terrestrial vertebrate species have declined by 31%, freshwater species by 28% and marine species by 27%.

Humanity's heavy tread
Humanity’s total ‘footprint’ has more than tripled since the 1960s, and now exceeds the planet’s carrying capacity (its ability to regenerate) by about 25%.

The ten countries of over a million people with the largest footprint, in global hectares per person are: the United Arab Emirates, the United States of America, Finland, Canada, Kuwait, Australia, Estonia, Sweden, New Zealand and Norway.

– Olivia Rose-Innes, EnviroHealth, Health24, October 2006

Information sources:
WWF press release 24 October 2006: Human footprint too big for nature
WWF: Living Planet Report 2006


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